No Cover Image

Journal article 542 views

‘Mary Shelley’s Sublime Bodies: "Frankenstein", "Matilda", "The Last Man"' / Steven, Vine

English, Volume: 55, Issue: 212, Pages: 141 - 156

Swansea University Author: Steven, Vine

Abstract

Feminist readings of Mary Shelley have shown how her work critiques the values of ‘masculine’ Romanticism, in particular the transcendences of mind and the sovereignty of self. The essay examines how Shelley’s early fictions - 'Frankenstein' (1818), 'Matilda (1819) and 'The Last...

Full description

Published in: English
Published: 2006
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa17984
Tags: Add Tag
No Tags, Be the first to tag this record!
Abstract: Feminist readings of Mary Shelley have shown how her work critiques the values of ‘masculine’ Romanticism, in particular the transcendences of mind and the sovereignty of self. The essay examines how Shelley’s early fictions - 'Frankenstein' (1818), 'Matilda (1819) and 'The Last Man' (1826) - mount this critique on the privileged terrain of male Romantic transcendence: the ‘sublime’. It 'argues that Shelley does not reject the sublime, but appropriates it so as to disclose what the idealising masculine sublime - typified in Kant’s version - represses: woman and the body. The essay suggests that monstrosity in 'Frankenstein', melancholy in 'Matilda' and plague in 'The Last Man' construct a ‘feminist’ sublime that draws attention to what is ‘abjected’, in Julia Kristeva’s terms, from patriarchal Romanticism - to what, in Lyotardian manner, is ‘unpresentable’ within it. Mary Shelley’s ‘sublime bodies’ bear witness to the feminine repressed of patriarchal Romantic idealism.
College: College of Arts and Humanities
Issue: 212
Start Page: 141
End Page: 156